Print 23 comment(s) - last by tastyratz.. on Jan 12 at 12:09 PM

Cache drives will start at $69 for 30GB

There's no question that solid-state drives (SSDs) have taken over the enthusiast and consumers markets. Many enthusiasts look to SSDs at least for a boot drive and many manufacturers are going "all SSD" when it comes to thin and light notebooks.
Corsair is pushing a different angle with its new line of Accelerator Series SSD Cache drives. The cache drives, available in 30GB, 45GB, and 60GB capacities, plug into a free SATA port and work with NVELO software to provide an immediate speed boost in a Windows environment. There is no direct involvement from the user in managing file storage on the device; the caching software handles it all.

Corsair says that users will see an immediate [up to] 5x boost in read/write speeds over an existing HDD in a system.
"It's ideal for consumers and enthusiasts who'd like to improve their PC's speed without investing the time and cost into a complete PC upgrade," said Thi La, Corsair's VP of Memory Products. There's no complex configuration involved, and their PC will work as it always has — just a lot quicker."
The Accelerator Series SSD Cache drives currently work in Windows 7 and will support the upcoming Windows 8 operating system when it is released. The 30GB, 45GB, and 60GB models will be priced at $69, $84, and $99 respectively.

Source: Corsair

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By Motoman on 1/10/2012 3:13:55 PM , Rating: 1 kinda like ReadyBoost but on the SATA interface. kinda like adding a huge SS cache to your mechanical HD.

The price doesn't seem awful...and that's been what's held back SSDs for the vast majority of users - pathetic price/size ratios.

I'd be interested to see what this did to someone's gaming rig - like what's the impact of having all your WoW stuff cached into that 60 gigs.

RE: Interesting...
By EricMartello on 1/10/2012 5:17:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be interested to see what this did to someone's gaming rig - like what's the impact of having all your WoW stuff cached into that 60 gigs.

It's probably similar to installing WoW onto an SSD drive...

RE: Interesting...
By Reclaimer77 on 1/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Interesting...
By chagrinnin on 1/10/2012 7:59:26 PM , Rating: 3
I think you mean worster. Actually,...that sounds worse. Never mind.

RE: Interesting...
By Motoman on 1/11/2012 9:29:22 AM , Rating: 2
That's kind of what I'd like to see in action...if it's all automagically managed for you, which it sounds like it is, I would be interested to see how close it actually gets to just simply using an SSD.

...because I'm going to guess that you can't somehow tell it "yeah just cache all of WoW and Photoshop on there." It does such things by itself, and presumably makes decisions about what to cache vs. leave on the HD within a program by itself, and also makes decisions about when to flush it back out of the cache all on it's own.

RE: Interesting...
By EricMartello on 1/11/2012 8:32:06 PM , Rating: 2
In real-world usage I think this would provide a noticeable boost to frequently used applications, meaning it would be about the same as having those apps on a SSD...but when you go to load a program that you don't use often things would slow down since it wouldn't be cached. So there would still be advantages to using a SSD as your OS and program drive, but something like this would probably be "good enough" for a lot of people.

By bug77 on 1/10/2012 2:43:16 PM , Rating: 2
There is no direct involvement from the user in managing file storage on the device; the caching software handles it all.

So you can only use this on Windows. Which already has ReadyBoost. Nice.

RE: Great
By Flunk on 1/10/2012 2:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
ReadyBoost is for USB Flash drives, SSDs perform much better so this is not the same thing.

RE: Great
By EricMartello on 1/10/2012 5:13:28 PM , Rating: 4
Give Linux & BSD OSes a few years to cache up.

they need to hit the OEM market
By tastyratz on 1/10/2012 2:52:53 PM , Rating: 2
I have been saying that ssd should be hybridized for a long time now. That however is not what is done here. This is the kind of thing they needed to partner with WD on for example to combat the seagate momentus.

They also should sell the software packages separately for enthusiasts.

sadly I think they are too late to the party on this. The price of entry isn't enticing enough to get someone started on ssd compared to a new regular drive, and after the momentus launched there is fierce competition. The dual drive laptop market is minimal and someone installing a ssd in a desktop is far more likely at this point to just get a windows drive and have a separate storage drive.

Without a major OEM backer like dell selling them as economic
alternatives in new machines they will probably see fairly low adoption rates.

RE: they need to hit the OEM market
By nrhpd527 on 1/10/2012 3:17:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not so sure on the getting "a windows drive and have a separate storage drive." People who have small / medium businesses who do not want the hassle of reinstalling several (or even dozens) of desktops might use these as performance upgrades to avoid buying new machines if they already have Windows 7 machines with 4+GB of RAM and decent 7200 RPM HDDs. Since it is basically 2 cables, I could even walk my father in law through installing one of these in his desktop using his web cam, and he's not at ALL technologically skilled.

For me, I just did a clean install of Win7Pro64 and really don't want to redo it. Additionally, my Office 2010 has been put on that machine so many times over the various reformats (yeah, I should do images, I know...) that I have to call MS every time I want to do that now. Thus, this is a great idea to break the HDD bottleneck my desktop has now.

RE: they need to hit the OEM market
By 0ldman on 1/11/2012 12:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
Ghost the drive. Partition it in Windows 7, copy partition.

Though I agree, this would be a slightly easier sell, but if I bother to describe the process to most of my customers they'll opt to have me image the SSD.

By tastyratz on 1/12/2012 12:09:24 PM , Rating: 2
Prettymuch, I don't see this as a machine refresher in the business world. It does not perform the gains required for multi machine touch an deployment. SSD booster will not show the ROI in the cubicle world against labor cost. This is why I say bundle it from OEM's because a standard supported production model *could* apply to the business world as a modest upgrade. I don't see cases cracking open to shave 1/2 second off ms word launch times. Those people who would see the ROI would also be worth investing a full size ssd.

Great idea, but working in the business world what the IT department thinks is cool, and what the business thinks is a worthwhile investment often does not match.

Write delayed ?
By armageddon51 on 1/10/2012 3:21:06 PM , Rating: 2
looks like a fast write delayed and read precaching. If you have a lot of ram (or buy some more) you could setup a ram drive which will be way faster at no extra cost. Just an idea.

RE: Write delayed ?
By Hakuryu on 1/10/2012 4:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
I think the whole idea behind this drive is the 'plug and play' factor.

If you are technically literate, you probably will buy a SSD; even though they are around $2/GB. I went with a 120GB model for Win7 x64 and love it.

If you are not technically literate, yet have heard about SSD's and are intrigued by them, but put off by cost comparisons - $240 vs $50 for a HDD, then this item might look like a deal.

RE: Write delayed ?
By PrinceGaz on 1/11/2012 12:07:35 PM , Rating: 1
Unlike a RAM drive, the SSD cache is fully populated with all frequently accessed files the moment the computer is turned on. A RAM drive is still dependent on some other HDD to fill it before it can be used.

SSD caching + Superfetch + RAM drive: It rocks!
By ack on 1/10/2012 3:57:04 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously, if you have a Z68 mobo, this is the way to go. Ever seen Firefox load with 15 tabs in under a second?!?

The SSD means Superfetch/RAM is loaded quickly and without lag. The RAM drive is used for temp files and cache data (e.g. Firefox) to avoid disk contention.

Make sure you have lots of RAM (12+ GB) to avoid the RAM cache and Superfetch from being flushed, or it would increase SSD access and negate the benefits.

By wwwcd on 1/10/2012 4:33:29 PM , Rating: 2
"...LGA 2011 motherboards have either 4 or 8 DIMM slots which allows for a maximum support of 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of memory..."

by wikipedia

Currently it only MSI have declared such a volume (128GB RAM) for their model motherboard as supported, but how much! When the end of 2012 the first proposals are available on two kit's of 4X16GB, it will be cost around $3K

Corsair's version of Intel Smart Response Technology
By chizow on 1/10/2012 8:16:08 PM , Rating: 2
Same basic idea, except its not proprietary to Intel and doesn't require specific board/chipset support.

Good idea overall for smaller SSDs and will also be an option to consider for those who upgrade to larger SSDs over time.

There's a couple alternatives to SSD caching though:

1) OS/app install directly on the SSD. Caching is a bit more flexible but also slower than directly installing to the SSD when non-cached apps are needed.

2) RAM drives. DDR3 is so cheap in such large densities and capacities that 20+GB RAM drives are a possibility now without too much effort. The cost per GB is down to ~$5/GB for 4GB Dimms, a bit more for 8GB, which is really not that much more than the $1-2/GB for current SSDs.

I'm personally more interested in a 20-30GB RAM drive that does this automated caching, maybe this software Corsair is using can be used with RAM drives as well?

By jah1subs on 1/10/2012 11:57:23 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for providing the comparison to Intel SRT that had hoped to see in the article. IIRC, Intel's SRT is currently version 10.5 and is going to version 11 for 7 series chipsets.

Sure would be nice to see a comparison between Intel's 20GB cache drive and multiple sizes of this drive.

That seems to me to be the cutting edge in SSD technology right now.

By robladdish on 1/10/2012 2:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yay - it's about time! I didn't like the high pricing and low capacities of the hybrid HDDs. Pairing this up with a 4TB data drive will be quite interesting, and hopefully take the edge off of frequent files for games, photos, and adobe catalogs. It will be interesting to see how it compares with intel's new caching solution. I also hope the write cache is write through so you can shutdown the PC and the cached HDD is ok if removed.

By wwwcd on 1/10/2012 2:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
I hope so and waiting for a next dimension of volume at SSD cash drives . It's "born" in the second half of 2013 and will get volume up to 400GB. Meantime "normal" mass produced SSD's will increasing up to 2TB or more reaching capacity, which previously was only in the parameters of "industrial" SSD devices and traditional HDD's.

SSD Cache with SSD as Boot?
By DTGuy on 1/11/2012 9:19:00 AM , Rating: 2
I currently have a 120GB SSD as my boot drive with 16GB or RAM. Will having this 'Accelerator Series SSD Cache drive' benefit my current config? I do have a 2TB RAID1 with apps and games on it, but my Intel X25 SSD is where most of my 'daily' apps are stored...Wondering....

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